Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remembering

When I'm asked where I learned to sing, I reflect on my childhood. My parents were both very involved in community volunteering. Mom usually had us kids in tow, so we all started singing in the church choir at an early age. Gathering to sing for the residents of our local nursing home was part of the expectation of being a choir member, and I knew lots of old songs by the time I was 10.

We recently gathered once again at the newly-built retirement home where my Grandma is a resident, to join in the monthly singalong.

The kids think that the retirement home is "GG's House"...they love it, and all her "roommates"! 
They are always delighted to see "GG's pets": two lovebirds, and some goldfish!

This lady taught kindergarten to all three of my siblings. She still thinks Kindergarten is the best place to be, although she's retired. Now she shares her musical gifts with the elderly residents of this retirement home, playing good old-fashioned tunes like "Our Golden Wedding Day", and "Pack Up Your Troubles". She inspires me with her energy and joie de vivre; I hope teaching Kindergarten for the next 25 years does as much for my spirit as it seems to have done for hers!
Familiar hands play familiar tunes.

Margot wanders this place, giving random hugs and letting the residents touch her blanket.

One of my favourites; I swear these are the same songsheets we used to use when I was a kid.

This handsome gentleman spent 5 years overseas in World War II. He captured the room with his rendition of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart".

We talked about the war, and I thought about the many memories contained in the hearts of the residents here, most of whom lived through the Second World War. I thought of what it must have been like to say goodbye to my spouse, to wait months for a letter, to wonder whether my letters were reaching him. I thought of the babies that were born, and grew without meeting their fathers. I thought of the men who came home and had to somehow re-integrate into a family of strangers. I wonder about all the stories we don't hear.

Remember the fallen ones, and remember the ones who lived. If your grandparents are no longer living, contact your local nursing/retirement home and find out how you can contribute to making the lives of the residents brighter. Share a craft, a song, a dance. Sit and listen to a story. The elderly are a gift, tucked away in homes and just waiting for someone to visit. Many eyes watched with envy as we ushered Grandma out the door to come up to the house for lunch, and I would have taken them all out for lunch if I could have.

Remember them.

12 comments:

  1. Words to be taken to heart for certain.

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  2. How true. I think that the greatest ailment of the elderly is plain, old loneliness...

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  3. Awesome, Steph!! But the line..."The elderly are a gift, tucked away in homes and just waiting for someone to visit"....brought tears to my eyes. Excellent post.

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  4. Love this post Steph! You are correct about the elderly, they are an incredible gift that should be revered and cherished.

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  5. Well said, Stephanie.

    Laura
    http://gettingthere.typepad.com

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  6. Very poignant and dear to my heart also. Thank you for sharing your insight into your Grandmother's new home and community.

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  7. Ella loves when the ACW goes to visit the old folks. Everyone is her 'friend', she also loves playing the piano for them. I love seeing everyone's face light up when she talks with them.

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  8. I miss those times of singing at "the home". I'm so glad that you carry on the tradition with J, V and M. Such life and energy they must bring to that place!
    Beautiful post, as always..

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  9. My daughter went on a field trip to the nursing home 2 blocks away from her school the second week she was there. She loved going there.

    What a beautiful post.

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  10. as parents you drag your kids along to everything you need to do,never thinking that one day they drag their kids along and the tradition goes on.Nice memories and a wonderful way to once more pass along your talents.Can't wait for the Christmas Fling!

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  11. That's a great challenge for all of us to remember to give back to those that made it possible for us to be here today.

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  12. I can just imagine that the elders, would have loved seeing your children and hearing the voices in song. I am always interested in the stories they have to tell, it makes the past seem that much closer when you can hear the past from someone who lived it.
    Amanda

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